Most Yerevan dailies run their last 2002 issues on Saturday. “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says what the Armenian government has done this year is “substantial but not sufficient.” “A few more such years are needed in order for its accomplishments to be tangible,” the paper says. “The main thing is that we are on the right track. We just have to follow it.”
But according to “Orran,” the past year was not different 2001. “At the end of the day, you see that, in essence, nothing has happened,” the paper says. Armenia needs real actions on the part of its leadership and political elite.
A yearend commentary in “Azg” primarily deals with challenges facing Armenia in the international arena. “It is certain that there will be new geopolitical changes [in 2003], including re-drawings of the political map. Regardless of our will, Armenia, like the entire Caucasus region, will find itself in the whirlwind of the formation of a new geopolitical unit and will have to face tougher dilemmas.” The Armenian government should therefore have “several alternatives” to its complementary foreign policy. “Especially in case our strategic ally Russia continues to ignore the fact that it is economic presence that would be its main lever in this region, apart from military bases.”
Tigran Torosian, a leading member of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), appears to extend an olive branch to the opposition in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” Torosian says the HHK will not stay in power “for decades” and will eventually have to give way to other political actors. Armenian parties, he says, will take turns in governing the country. Those of them which are now in opposition must therefore be careful in “creating complications for the country,” according to Torosian. This is what democracy is all about.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says 2002 has been a year of government “struggle against democracy.” The regime has worked hard to “weaken democratic institutions” in Armenia. It will not hesitate to rig the upcoming presidential elections. All government actions in 2002 were aimed at undermining “public mechanisms” for exposing and preventing vote rigging. “But not everything is decided by the authorities,” the paper concludes.